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St. Lawrence Central staging ‘Footloose’ this weekend

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BRASHER FALLS - Members of the St. Lawrence Central Drama Club are gonna cut loose, footloose, and kick off their Sunday shoes Friday and Saturday night in the high school auditorium.

“Footloose” will rock the auditorium this year, with the doors opening at 7 p.m. both evenings and the curtain rising at 7:30 p.m.

Based on his the hit movie, the plot revolves around Ren McCormack and his mother moving from Chicago to a small farming town. While Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school, he’s not ready for the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, Rev. Shaw Moore, who’s determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth that he cannot command in his own home.

When the reverend’s rebellious daughter, Ariel Moore, sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.

Ariel is played by senior Kelsey Newtown, a veteran of St. Lawrence Central School productions. This is her sixth musical and second as a lead character. She was Charlie Bucket, one of the leads in last year’s production of Willy Wonka.

“I’ve loved acting since I was a little girl. I couldn’t get away from this group,” she said.

This year she plays the rebellious daughter and has watched the movie several times to hone her role.

“She’s the preacher’s daughter. Her dad banned dancing in town. She’s kind of a wild child rebelling against her father. She wants to dance,” Ms. Newtown said.

This role wasn’t as difficult as last year’s, she said.

“It’s a lot easier to prepare for playing a girl. I didn’t have to train myself to stand like a man,” she said.

Still, Ms. Newtown said, it’s been a long road for the cast members since they began their rehearsals the first week in January.

“We’re tired. Our emotions are extreme right now,” she said.

As one of the leads, Ms. Newtown said she has plenty of time on the stage.

“I’m in everything. It’s like a marathon. The only chance I have to be back stage is when I change my clothing,” she said.

Senior Sierra Sicard takes on the role of Ethel, Ren’s mother.

“She’s a really complex character. Her husband leaves her while they live in Chicago and she’s responsible for herself and her son. She can’t handle living on her own. She can’t afford it,” leading the family to pack up and move to the small town of Bomont, she said.

The move, Ms. Sicard said, is “a big change,” as they encounter a community that’s unlike what they had in Chicago.

“It’s a really big transition,” she said.

Ms. Sicard had auditioned for a couple of other characters, including Ariel, but said she’s happy with her role.

“I’m not on a stage a whole lot, but it’s a pretty decent-sized role,” she said. “It was difficult at first. I didn’t see myself in an adult role. Once we started, I saw how I react with the other characters and I started to enjoy it.”

It’s her second lead role in as many years in the school’s spring musicals, an extracurricular activity that she started during the 2012-13 school year. She played Mrs. Beauregarde in Willy Wonka.

“I wanted to start in seventh grade, but I wasn’t allowed to until last year. I told my mom I was doing it anyway,” Ms. Sicard said.

Behind-the-scenes personnel also play an integral role in the success of a musical, and among them is Jayce Lanning, the lighting designer who had worked with school musicals in Massena before transferring to St. Lawrence Central this year.

“One of my friends ask me to join. Ever since I’ve been getting into it. I did it two years in Massena. This is my first year here,” Mr. Lanning said.

He had just finished electronically programming the cues this week, a process that determines what lights will be shining and where they’ll be shining, including the blackout periods at the end of scenes. He said he watched the movie to get some ideas for the local production.

“It’s all electronic. I have to basically design the light scheme - what colors, what patterns and the different fixtures. I give ideas like what colors and how many lights,” Mr. Lanning said.

All together, he said there are 18 lights on the stage and approximately 12 others in the auditorium that need to be programmed.

In addition, Mr. Lanning said, “We have four new moving spots. You push a button and they move up and down and change color.”

Kyle Foster, a sophomore, is this year’s stage manager. It’s the first time he has taken on that role.

“I signed the papers saying I would like this part,” he said.

As stage manager, Mr. Foster said he has a number of responsibilities, such as taking attendance to make sure every student is present. He also assists if someone forgets their lines.

On Friday and Saturday, he said, he’ll be “making sure they are in the place where they need to be,” and ensuring they’re “on task and not messing around.”

“They (the students) help out a lot because it’s my first year of doing this,” he said.

If they don’t listen, he said there can be “punishment,” such as making them put on a dress.

“Some don’t like it too much,” Mr. Foster said.

Tickets for this year’s show are $10 at the door or $9 pre-sale. They’re on sale from 7:30 to 8 a.m. each morning through Saturday at the box office. There are also after-school and evening ticket sales from 3:15 to 4 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today and Friday, and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call 389-5131.

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